Although the ice cream man comes year-round in South Carolina, we are starting to enter the time of the year where ice cream trucks start visiting neighborhoods across the country. Growing up I loved the ice cream man, even declaring that one day I would like to be one when I grew up. Somehow the marketing industry got in the way.
For tonight’s blog post, in celebration of ice cream truck season, I wanted to countdown my top five favorite ice cream truck treats. Although the offerings of ice cream trucks vary wildly throughout the nation, it seems like most have a portion of universal treats. Those will be the ones I focus on for this post.
5. Drumstick – Every ice cream truck seemed to have a version of the drumstick. As a kid, I viewed it as the “sophisticated” item of the lineup. Even though I didn’t really care for cones at the time, I still got it every now and then because of the coolness factor. With chocolate, nuts, cone, and a fudge bottom, it just seemed like the obvious option as well as what the older kids were getting.
4. Classic Ice Cream Sandwich – If an ice cream truck doesn’t offer an ice cream sandwich, it really isn’t an ice cream truck. One of the most traditional and affordable selections you can choose from a “frozen dessert factory on wheels” is the classic chocolate wafer ice cream sandwich. If I was in a glum mood on a summer day, I would opt for one. True, it wouldn’t be my first choice but it wouldn’t disappoint. I enjoy the consistency and the fun of peeling away one of the wafers and eating it by itself.
3. Strawberry Shortcake Bar – Eating a strawberry shortcake bar can simply be described as “pleasant.” Honestly, who was the genius who came up with these? Cake pieces cover vanilla ice cream that coats a strawberry flavored center…delicious! When eating one of these bars you didn’t have to worry about a brain freeze and you could bite down without irritating sensitive teeth. You also don’t have to worry about it melting as fast as other selections. But it really all does come down to the taste. Strawberry shortcake bars are sweet and light. Out of all the items on this list, a strawberry shortcake bar is the treat I would most like to enjoy as an adult.
2. Snow Cones – I think we all have a memory of getting a snow cone from an ice cream truck. Sure they were hard as rocks but I think that was part of the appeal. While a friend would devour his popsicle in a few minutes, I would have my snow cone last me throughout the night. After working on it the traditional way, I would usually remove my rainbow block of ice from the cone and place it in a bowl, stabbing at it with a fork. The best part was always the melted “juice” that was left behind.
1. Character Ice Cream Pops – “Who is it going to be?! Who is it going to be?!” As the ice cream truck grew closer, my friends and I wondered whether it would be a Ninja Turtle, Mario, Power Ranger, or Looney Tunes character. By “it” I mean the special character ice cream pop that would always be offered on the ice cream truck’s menu. Growing up, our truck would only offer one option but it would always rotate, adding to our suspense. The “ice cream” (notice how I used quotation marks?) was yummy and the gumball eyes or nose always added an extra bonus, even if they were more non-edible than the gum you used to get in a pack of baseball cards. These pops were novelty items at their absolute best and I was always a sucker for them.
Keep your ears open because that ice cream truck jingle might be audible this weekend. If I am missing out on any frozen confections that should be included on this list, let me know. Don’t Blink.